The House Judiciary Antitrust Hearing — set to feature Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Google CEO Sundar Pichai will take place on Wednesday. The hearing was earlier scheduled for Monday, but was later postponed two days so that Washington could mourn the late John Lewis, a civil right leader and a democratic representative, who died of pancreatic cancer. He will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday.
What is the Issue?
The issue revolves around the competition in the digital marketplace and all the CEO will have to answer to the accusation of Monopoly. These companies hold remarkable influence over their respective market fields and the authorities are concerned that these companies have developed such unassailable market positions” that rivals can’t compete with any of them on equal terms, resulting in higher prices for flights, electronics, hotels, insurance and other goods and services.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline said in a joint statement.Since last June, the subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement,
Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming. As we have said from the start, their testimony is essential for us to complete this investigation.
How it all started?
Earlier in January, smaller tech firms complained about the unfair business means employed by the tech giants. Sonos CEO Patrick Spence informed the committee of how Google wanted insights into his company’s future product plans and restricted his company’s innovation. “There’s such a dominant power that exists with these companies that really even as a company of our size you feel like you have no choice,” Spence said.
There’s such a dominant power that exists with these companies that really even as a company of our size you feel like you have no choice,
Why does this matter?
Whichever platform you go on online, you are impacted by at least one (if not more) of the tech giants. The two most significant and powerful operating system globally belongs to Tim Cook’s Apple and Sundar Pichai’s Google. Apple has been facing a lot of farce off late and has faced increasing scrutiny over its IOS app store practices. The European Union and the US Department of Justice have both launched their respective investigations against the tech giants.
Who isn’t aware of Jeff Bezo’s Amazon’s mammoth e-commerce presence. Now, they manufacture their own goods, most of which compete with other sellers goods on Amazon’s online store. The fact that Amazon has access to these data and use it to set price, decide which features to incorporate and to even check whether it’s worth getting involved in a certain product Category, was highlighted by Wall Street Journal’s report.
Jeff Bezos was called to testify as soon as the report came out.
Sundar Pichai’s Google and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, runs the world’s biggest search engine and social media platform respectively, and dominate a major portion of the digital advertising market space.
Google reportedly taps data collected by Android to boost its own apps. The search giant reportedly has an internal program called Android Lockbox which the company uses to check on how people interact with non-Google apps and then improve their services and performance of their apps.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg could possibly be deposed by the Federal Trade Commission as part of the undergoing investigation in the company’s purchases of Instagram and WhatsApp and whether they were made to eliminate competition.
EPIC Games CEO Tim Sweeney also came forward recently, talking about the innovation crippling acts of Apple and Google. He claimed that the tactic used by these companies destroyed innovation.
Apple has locked down and crippled the ecosystem by inventing an absolute monopoly on the distribution of software, and on the monetization of software,Sweeney said
Will the Executives appear in Person?
“Under current House rules, witnesses and members are allowed to appear virtually,” the press release note accompanying the announcement noted. It is still unclear if the executives and the member of the Judiciary Committee will be appearing virtually or in-person. Given the current COVID-19 situation, the uncertainty still remains.
When is the Hearing Scheduled?
The hearing is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, July 29, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. the duration of the proceedings are unspecified.
Where can I watch the Hearing?
The House subcommittee will stream the hearing on its YouTube channel. You can watch the live stream here.